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Iliotibial Bands: How to Prevent Injuries

 

Iliotibial band injury prevention SF
The Iliotibial Band, or IT Band as it is commonly referred to, is a fibrous, thick connective tissue.  It begins at the hip bone and runs down the outside of the thigh and attaches at the shin bone.  The IT Band works in conjunction with the thigh muscles to provide stability when the legs are moving.

 

Friction occurs when the IT Band passes over the bony outside section of the knee as the leg bends and straightens.  Runners commonly experience discomfort or pain when the IT Band becomes irritated or inflamed.  Typically, their feet strike the ground just as the IT Band passes across that hard outside part of the knee which can cause pain to be felt on the outside of the knee, the thigh or the hip.  The intensity of pain may increase when descending stairs and hills.

 

Other factors can contribute to IT Band injuries:

 

weak hip muscles

tight or inflexible thigh and buttock muscles

overuse

over pronation

excessive hill running

running on slanted/curved surfaces                      

 

Being proactive and knowledgeable can help avoid IT Band problems.  There is an abundance of exercises that target key muscles and movements that will increase flexibility.  Another important factor in preventing injuries is using proper form.

 

 
Prevention of IT Band injuries can be greatly improved by including various strength training exercises along with rehabilitation and stretching routines. Below is a list of common hip and thigh strengthening exercises that you can do by yourself:
 

 
At the end of the day every runner wants to run injury free. As we discussed earlier, the hips and IT Bands are prone to injury if you have excessive tightness and/or weak muscles. Training should include ample stretching and strengthening followed by a foam roller massage for the serious runner who puts in a lot of weakly mileage (a lot can vary by individual but generally means anything above 20 miles per week).  Use the foam roller to massage and stretch out the IT Band and the surrounding tissues.  Make sure the foam roller is densely packed  and has a consistency more like wood.  Use your body weight and gravity to massage.  Pain should be felt in those areas during massage to know it is being done correctly.  The pain indicates an area of tightness.

Runners can also use myofascial massage/release to work out pain and tightness. Starting early and being consistent with the above techniques should improve your chances of running healthy and pain free for the long term.
 

An exercise program is essential to being fit in body, mind and spirit.  Let us guide you to a long, healthy running experience.  

 

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Aaron & Andie

Aim Fitness  www.aim2bfit.com

415 512-0800

215 Fremont St

SF CA 94105

 

*Mention this blog post for a complimentary personal training session


 

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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